Coach Allister Coetzee compares Vodacom Western Province's Absa Currie Cup game against the Blue Bulls at Newlands to a Test.
Province will be looking to extend their winning streak in this year's competition to six games. They are in excellent form, having disposed of the tough Griquas 50-3 at Kimberley the past weekend.
The Bulls are vulnerable without their Springbok stars and have lost two of their five games, including one at fortress Loftus Versfeld. WP seem to be coping better without their Boks, but have been dealt a blow with the unavailability of star backs Gio Aplon and Juan de Jongh.
"We'll miss Gio and Juan but we won the first three games without those two players, and I'm backing the players who are in the side this week," said Coetzee.
"We are always trying to get players to become Boks here and once that happens we don't want them back all of a sudden. We want to create depth in the province, so I'm happy with our situation, and we have prepared for a very strong Bulls side.
"With or without their Boks they'll definitely come with a strong side to try and beat us. I'm happy with our depth and the youngsters we've blooded. It's a great challenge, and for the pack it's going to be close to a test match, and we want to maintain our proud record at Newlands."
He is, however, taking nothing for granted, not even the fact that the lowly Leopards almost beat the Bulls last weekend.
The Bulls beat the Stormers in the final of the Super 14 earlier this year and the Blue Bulls also knocked Province out at the semifinal stage of the Currie Cup last year.
It is therefore easy to understand why the WP coach has a healthy dose of respect for the visitors on Saturday. "This is a quality Bulls outfit. They're the best side in the Southern Hemisphere, a franchise and a union that have dominated the Currie Cup scene of late.
"They'll come to Newlands and this is a place that will lift their game and intensity and focus by 40 percent. It's regarded as one of the games of the season for them when they come out to Newlands because they want to beat Province at Newlands."
Coetzee was happy to have the experienced Marius Jonker as referee. "He blew the first game of the Currie Cup against the Cheetahs. He's a top quality referee and I'm happy that he's got the game this weekend."
Tickets for the game sold fast this week and Coetzee was looking forward to take on the Bulls in front of a huge crowd. "It's a great vibe when you have the Bulls coming to Cape Town. The people are still hurting from the Super 14 loss. It will be like a Test."
Teams for Newlands:
Vodacom WP: Conrad Jantjes, Fabian Juries, Tim Whitehead, Paul Bosch, Frikkie Welsh, Willem de Waal, Dewaldt Duvenhage, Duane Vermeulen, Francois Louw/Nick Koster, Pieter Louw, Anton van Zyl (captain), Adriaan Fondse, Brok Harris, Tiaan Liebenberg, Wicus Blaauw.
REPLACEMENTS: Deon Fourie, JD Möller, Buhle Mxunuywa, De Kock Steenkamp, Nick Koster/Pieter Myburgh, Conrad Hoffmann, Lionel Cronjé.
Blue Bulls: Zane Kirchner, Gerhard van den Heever, Jaco Pretorius, Stefan Watermeyer, John Mametsa, Jacques-Louis Potgieter, Ruan Snyman, Gerrit-Jan van Velze, Dewald Potgieter, Derick Kuun, Wilhelm Steenkamp, Jeandré Kruger, Werner Kruger, Gary Botha (captain), Dean Greyling.
REPLACEMENTS: Bandise Maku, Bees Roux, Fudge Mabeta, CJ Stander, Dustin Jinka, Jaco van der Westhuyzen, Jaco Engels.
Referee: Marius Jonker.